Differentiating Between Honors and AP Classes

Meghan Rogers, Staff Writer

The difference between honors and AP classes can be very unclear. Although overall difficulty varies from class to class, there are the same building blocks to AP and honors courses no matter what the course or teacher.

The main difference between the two is college credit. Both courses offer the equivalent of one letter grade higher on GPA point systems, but AP classes provide the possibility of getting college credit for the class. In May, AP students may take the AP test for their respective subject for the chance to get college credit.

As assumable, AP classes are overall more difficult than honors classes because they are seen as college level courses. Honors courses are often seen as a prelude to the AP class of that subject. For instance, most students who take Honors English then go on to take AP English. However, for certain courses such as these, it is not required and students can choose to take AP English without having taken Honors English.

“In AP I don’t go as in depth on fundamentals because I assume they already know them,” said Algebra 2/Trigonometry Honors and AP Calculus BC teacher Mike Plant.  “I go over them more in my honors class.”

AP courses require a deeper level of understanding that that of Honors classes. Although Honors goes more in depth into the material than a regular class, AP’s often ask why procedures or readings happen, versus just typical memorization. Because of the cumulative AP test, students can’t just learn and forget the information. The information builds, so it is important to understand every chapter. Even though honors classes don’t have the AP test, both courses offer a more serious level of difficulty than regular classes.

“The main problem is kids going into honors or AP and doing poorly because they aren’t ready for such a challenge, but they could have gotten an A in the the regular course” Plant said. “You have to be careful.”